Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Age Old Problem

My parents-in-law are different.
DH and I have jokingly said we should position camers in their house, and run a kind of Big Brother series, featuring their goings on.
We'd make a fortune - and entertain a nation!

The two of them can make such drama; have such fights; have such bizarre conversations, that, in South Africa at least, it would be a can't-miss programme.

Noone could make up a screen play so off-the-wall!

They live in a sort of love/hate zone
Fearful of being without one another, but irritated to the nth degree with each other.
A lose/lose situation, if I ever saw one!

My father-in-law is 84 and is consumed with his frailty.
He goes to the very patient Military Hospital about 4 times a week, terrified that each day will be his last.
The staff is kind to him, giving him blood transfusions now and then so he'll feel stronger.
I think their patience might be running thin now though.

My mother-in-law hates it that he gets all the attention.
And let's him know it.
And tries to outdo his health complaints.
And is dismissive about his condition, fully assured that she is, in fact, the sicker of the two.
I think she might even be glad that she has pain but he doesn't.
That lends clout to her claims.

The truth is, though, that neither of them is really able to cope with living unassisted.

We have been trying for ages, to convince them that since they're not coping, they need to find an alternative.
Every suggestion was met with hostility.

We understand.
Its hard for them.
But still, it's frustrating to meet such a blank wall.

Here DH and I, retired people ourselves, find ourselves in this bizarre position of having to cope with parents that behave like Terrible-Two's!
It would hysterically funny if were not so sad and infuriating.

Now the dilemma is, do we let them carry on living by themselves as they (think they) want?
Or do we do what so many other adult children have had to do for their aged parents - put our "foots" down and move them against their wishes?
Believing that, once they get used to it, they will actually begin to enjoy their lives again?

I hate what this is doing to my man.
It is constantly on his mind
And they are constantly on the phone, dependant on him
But criticising and demanding incessantly.
I don't think they realise what they're doing
But its lousy.

Vent over
For now.


ANNE said...

Hard one, Allie....can't presume to advise! Prayers for you...

allie. said...

Thanks Anne.
We have come to the conclusion that this is another time to pray, stand aside and watch what the Lord can do!
We've seen Him do some doozies before :-)

Lynette said...

Allie, I remember Kobus and his sister putting their foot down with my in-laws. I also remember giving them marriage counseling shortly before they passed away. MIL became obsessively jealous with another senile old lady that was giving my FIL too much attention and she wacked her over the bum with her cane when she found her talking to my FIL. Towards the end of their lives he couldn't talk anymore and they were both in wheel chairs..and she used to pinch him black and blue about the alledged "affair" he was having. Funny at the time but also so incredibly sad.

Sometimes we have to get to the place of knowing that they don't know what is best for them and their situation.

Anonymous said...

Sorry ma :(


Ordinarylife said...

tough one.

I am having similar problems with my father - no easy.

We have him on a waiting list but he has been on it for ages. What we plan on doing in the mean time is getting a Home Carer to come and assist. In PE you can contact the Algoa Bay for the Aged and they can arrange one. Maybe there is an organisation there that does something similar. We can choose how many days a week as wel as how many hours a day. Hopefully the person can start next week - HOPING! My dad obviously does not want this either - but we have put our collective foot down.

Good luck

Lisa said...

Ah mom... :(

allie. said...

To my dear children - thanks for the sympathies.
We'll try hard not to do this to you guys down the line :-D
@ Lynette - hahaha (sorry! But seriously, that has a very funny side!)
Maybe my in-laws are not that different after all!
@ Ord Life - a very good idea. We'll look around and see if there is something similar in our area.
Thanks so much.

MelB said...

Okay, Lynettes story had me giggling! funny in retrospect but I bet not easy at the time.

I think you know my thoughts on hard for Dad. Strongs.